Worth the Wait for Scarpone and Ulivo
Lost in the rush of December restaurant openings has been Joseph Scarpone’s Ulivo. Adam Erace visits the Queen Village Italian BYOB and finds straightforward cooking that manages not to be predictable.
As people recognize Ulivo’s worth in the coming months, expect to hear a lot about Scarpone’s gnocchi. These ricotta gumdrops are legit, so soft and airy they melt on the tongue like Holy Communion. Greened with sautéed spinach and truffled, the pasta had a light coating of beurre blanc, a blasphemous but harmonious French gloss on an Italian favorite. Another pasta, a thick, rigatoni-like noodle called ceppo, sought inspiration from North Africa with crumbles of spicy merguez stowing away in its hollow tubes. Wilted leaves of curly red mustard rode through the ceppo, too, a nod to Scarpone’s former home, Napa, where “wild mustard grows all over the Valley floor.”